With 32 different men and women stepping into the ring for the first time on May 18th you can imagine there must be a lot of nerves and emotions swirling around. Excitement, fear, anticipation, hope, dread, the list goes on. They all have someone they are fighting for, they all have individual things driving them. Their lives have all been touched by cancer in some way. As fight night is approaching get an inside look as to what motivates these brave men and women who are stepping in the ring to literally knock out cancer.

I care about everyone and my heart goes out to every battle, but come fight night I'm gonna have only this amazing woman on my mind. My awesome sister, Jessica Bailey. A kick-butt mom to my nephews. A faithful wife to my brother-in-law. The light in my parents eyes. I fight for THIS family! These kids. This husband. And this woman. – Ben Pease

Over the past ten years, cancer has affected my friends and family. It hit first in high school where one of my friend's mothers lost her battle with cancer. From there it was year after year. So many good people lost their battle too early. So for me, it is easy to get in the ring and work my ass off to honor these great people. So to the Pietrantonios, Hallet's, Milligan's, Glaser's, Marenna's, Turner's, Galotti's and my family, the Morrissey’s… This one is for you. – Brian Morrissey

I decided I would fight for her again on May 18th, just a few days after Mother’s Day, because she didn’t get another chance to fight. – Sam Surface

It’s pretty hard to walk through life and not know a friend, co-worker or family member who has been affected by cancer. Medical research has come a long way to defeating cancer and if any of the funds I can raise through Haymakers can move the needle a degree closer to zeroing out the cancer equation – then I am all in. – Dan Macgregor

Cancer affects so many people. For me, it is easy to put myself in this type of hardship because I know cancer patients and families are going through something exponentially harder. Cancer has touched each one of my grandparents. – Pat Rodgers

I am not stepping in the ring because I think I am Rocky or some next wanna be light heavyweight champion of the world! I am jumping in the ring for a good cause, I am raising money to help find a cure for cancer. I am fighting for the family members I have lost due to cancer, my friends currently battling it and for anyone else experiencing the struggles of cancer. I am fighting for the lady standing next to me, my Aunt Liz!! My aunt is a real fighter, she doesn't know when to quit, she is as tough as they come and refuses to let life's struggles keep her down. She is currently battling cancer but doing it with a smile on her face, she is still actively working out and still goes to work. I know she worries but she wouldn't let anyone know! She is my inspiration! Now come fight night whether I win, lose or draw. I know that the money I raised will help in some way and that to me is worth more than the win! Liz when I grow up I want to be just like you... but with man bits – Nathaniel Short

At my aunt’s house, there are pictures of my cousin Jason Garfield playing peewee hockey and I never met him because he lost his battle as a teenager. My cousin Brianna Boston passed away when she was about 6 years old from brain cancer. She spent much of my high school soccer season on the sidelines with my jersey on. My parents have both had scares, but are luckily ok. At the end of the day, I am like everyone else in that I could fill pages of the friends and family that I think about even just in the first few weeks of training. – Kim Lipman

Like many cancer has impacted my loved ones, even more so in the past few years. None closer to home than my mother's battle. Throughout her treatments Mom kicked ass! Enduring everything thrown at her with courage, grace, and a fighter's spirit. Taking cancer's best shots, and kept moving forward. It's a helpless feeling wanting to, but not being able to take her place bearing the treatment's effects. For my mother a survivor, and for Papou, Uncle, and Cousin who are no longer with us. In doing that -- I'll endure physically (small in comparison) to finding a cure for those who eventually won't need to suffer. – Matt Nolan

This picture is of my Dad and me taken over 40 years ago. He died ~20 years later in August 1996 from stomach cancer. He was a diaspora Christian Armenian who immigrated to the US in the 1950's from Iran to study at Northeastern U. Like me he was a husky kid (think thigh rash/chub rub) In college, he took up boxing and body building - competing in both and transforming his physique. He even won the Mr. Worcester muscle man competition. He met and married my mom who is 2nd generation Irish ☘️and the rest is history...I grew up in a family of four boys...My oldest brother Greg who loved the fighting arts died tragically at age 22. That was very hard for us all but drew us closer together. My Dad was the glue. He was quite proud to see all of his sons play varsity tennis at Harvard. My brother Leon @chicken_baba was even a member of the Harvard Boxing Club. And he was very proud to see my older brother Peter and I Captain the team, compete in the NCAA's, play professionally and become world ranked @atpworldtour . He beamed as each of us went back to Harvard for graduate degrees, worked by his side helping him fight cancer and start our own families. Perhaps his most proud moments and times of utter joy were felt when he interacted with his grandchildren. I am very sad that his time with my children and my nieces and nephew was limited and he did not even meet them all. It was a gruesome end to watch him ravaged by cancer not able to eat and go from 200lbs to 80lbs in the 4 months before his passing. I am fighting in his memory. I am also fighting for some beloved friends who are battling cancer and who I'm am confident will win those battles. I believe that the healing power of love and positive energy and prayer can produce miracles. – Paul Palandjian

Pediatric cancer is a thief, plain and simple. Children should be given the ability to experience life. To run around with their friends and laugh like lunatics. Break a bone or two. Seeing their child’s first tottering steps. All of these little moments that so many of us take for granted are pipe dreams for some of these kids. The mere thought both saddens and enrages me. I want to do something – anything – that can give these kids a fighting chance to experience a meaningful life. That’s why I’m fighting in Haymakers. – Tim Morin

Haymaker's gives me the opportunity to give back to the world in the form of a great charity to help fight cancer. I lost two of my favorite family members...my grandfather and an aunt ....and another family member has been recently diagnosed...so I am happy to try to raise money for this worthy cause. – Michael Wooden

The Haymakers team has asked us to share pictures and stories of the people who have inspired us to fight and even though I know you love my black eye pics, this is what it's all about... My cousin Hannah (24, melanoma) and my grandfather GranDon (80, pancreatic) both tragically lost their cancer battles a year apart in the late 90s just as I was finishing middle school. Both of them were truly extraordinary people, so kind-hearted and brilliant and taken from us way too soon. It was the first time in my life that I had experienced loss like this and it was in many ways even more difficult to watch the way in which cancer took them. This had a dramatic effect on me as an impressionable kid. That following year I entered high school and fell in love with the sciences, especially biology, because I wanted answers and to find some way to be able to prevent this from ever happening to anyone else that I loved. Fast forward to my 30s, I have continued along that path now managing the Human Immunology Center at Brigham & Women's Hospital. While my childhood dream of finding a cure has yet to manifest itself I do feel a sense of accomplishment having devoted my life in many ways beyond just this fight in memory of them. I know that they are smiling down on me and my family and will no doubt be there in my corner on May 18th! – Adam Chicoine

Nearly 5 years ago, my mom Ann was diagnosed with cancer. This is not a sad story, but a story of courage, combativeness, and fight. Just like her, I am going to fight like hell, keeping her and everyone else who has battled or continues to battle this awful disease. – Ryan Coffey

"You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and the manner in which you live," said Scott. "So live. Live. Fight like hell. And when you get too tired to fight, lay down and rest and let somebody else fight for you." I’m fighting for those who are too tired to fight. – Nick Byrne

My family lost my Dad in 1998 at 59 years old, just before my wedding and then we lost my sister four years ago at age 50. My Dad had stage IV non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. He never had a chance but for the sake of those that might fight this disease in the future, he voluntarily subjected himself to what were at the time, state of the art but still experimental treatments at MGH. We lost him on March 16, 1998. He was in the Ellison Building on the 11th floor and we watched him pass while saying my grandmothers favorite prayer, a Hail Mary. My sister's bout with cancer was deceivingly fast. She went to the hospital believing she was suffering from a stroke. Turns out it started as Lung Cancer but it had metastasized to her brain and eventually reached her spinal fluid. We lost her Feb 1, 2014. When you ask someone about cancer, everyone has a loved one that, win or lose, has suffered from this horrible disease. The names are coming at me from everywhere and I'm fighting for them all. – Matt Kilty

Growing up I saw my great grandmother, Anna Capone, my grandmothers, Helen Grendal & Margaret Capone then my good friend, Jeff Parker, all battle then succumb to this horrible disease. My memories of them laughing & smiling will help drive me to my goal. Taking a few punches & raising some money to #KOCancer is the least I could do for people I loved. – Matt Grendal

Fighting in memory of my Father who passed away at the age of 42 from cancer. Help me make sure no child is every forced to navigate through the fight that is life with one hand tied behind their back!! – Anton Melchionda

My inspiration has and always will be fighting in honor if my father. – Joe O’Brien

I've had a few close relatives suffer at the hand of cancer. From grandparents to cousins, to close family friends. I see what people go through. At the same time, it's motivated me and encouraged me to push myself when I feel like I can't tackle my own chronic illness, to recognize there are folks out there hurting much more. – Michael Abbate

Everyone has their stories with how cancer has impacted their lives, and for years I feel like my stories kept growing. From my mother being given a 25% chance of being alive in 5 years (that was 10 years ago and she is now cancer free), to my oldest and best friend passing away a year ago…I just couldn’t sit on the sidelines anymore. Marathons and golf tournaments weren’t enough, I wanted to fight. So I am. – Paul Grossman

I am drawing my inspiration from the memories of my Mother, who was diagnosed with breast cancer at the young age of 40, and passed away March 3, 2006. If getting punched in the face in front of a few people is the only price I have to pay to help raise money to find a cure; how can I walk away from that? – Brian Curran

Several people in my life have been affected by cancer. My mother has had it twice. She finished treatment about a month ago and everything looks good. I lost my grandmother a little over 10 years ago to lung cancer. Also my coworker and close friend of mine lost his sister last year to cancer. Seeing how strong everyone was and everything they went through motivates me to get in the ring. – Matthew Christensen

Every day, millions of men and women throughout the world fight cancer. Haymakers for Hope is allowing us to train harder than the next guy and raise a few bucks to #KOCANCER. Think about the person closest to you that is fighting or has fought cancer with all their might – THAT'S who I'm fighting for. – Kyle Gross

Like so many of us I've been personally affected by cancer in several ways, having friends and loved ones diagnosed throughout my life. However the severity and reality of the disease really hit home on Feb. 5th 2016 when my then-girlfriend (now fiance) was diagnosed with breast cancer at 27 years old. I've watched her fight day in and day out for the last year through 2 rounds of chemotherapy, 2 surgeries, radiation, and countless hours spent at MGH to beat this disease. She's finally done with the majority for the majority of treatment and is officially cancer free. She is an inspiration in every sense of the word, even finding time to fund-raise for the Ellie Fund while still undergoing chemo and radiation. I figure it's about time I pull my weight and pick up the fight along with her. – Jeff Scola

My older sister participated in an earlier Haymakers for Hope bout and it was very impressive. Since then I added it to my bucket list. Being involved with a great organization (like) Haymakers for Hope and raising money for Dana-Farber is a great privilege. – Mike Mcgonagle

My Girlfriend's grandmother just had a recent battle with cancer. She is 77 years old. Fortunately she was able to overcome it and is now cancer free. Seeing her have to go to radiation therapy Monday through Friday for six weeks. The whole family was chipping in alternating days driving her to therapy. That was motivating for me. What was most inspiring though was seeing her ring the cancer free bell at her last appointment. – Vinnie Murphy